Open Source Directory Services

Written by George Lattimore on June 26, 2018

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As the identity management market continues to build up speed with 24 billion dollars of growth expected by the end of 2022 (Market Research Future: Identity and Access Management Market Research Report – Global Forecast 2022), open source availability has been a frequent concern. IT admins are surveying the options and rightfully asking, “Are there any modern open source directory services available to use?” To answer this question, let’s take a look at the scene together.

Challenges for Legacy Open Source Directory Services

There are a number of open source directory services platforms in the identity management market that IT organizations should be aware of. These identity providers include OpenLDAP, FreeIPA, Samba, 389, and a number of others. For open source aficionados, however, there aren’t really any new open source directory services solutions available. Or, said in another way, as the identity management world migrates to the cloud, an open source cloud directory service isn’t really in the cards.

Challenges for legacy open source directory services

The challenge that virtually all of these open source directory services platforms face is that they have targeted a specific slice of the overall market. In the case of OpenLDAP, LDAP-based systems and applications are heavily targeted. For FreeIPA and Samba, they specifically act as adjuncts to support Linux® in Microsoft® Active Directory® environments, while 389 is based off of Sun’s old directory services solution, which in turn was based on LDAP.

Cloud is the New Core of Choice

While all of these identity providers can be helpful in the right situation, they largely do not function as a modern organization’s core directory service. Over the last 20 years or so, the function of the core directory service has really been handled by Microsoft Active Directory. This homogeneous strategy worked wonders for Microsoft, as they were able to lock-in IT organizations by excluding competition, such as Mac® and Linux® systems.

Cloud is the new core of choice

But, as the modern IT landscape shifts to the cloud and propagates mixed-platform environments, AD is being phased out as the identity management solution of choice. Cloud-forward organizations are seizing the moment by shifting to cloud identity management and a core cloud directory service.

While not a true open source directory, this progressive approach to IAM is connecting mixed-platform, cloud-forward organizations to the IT resources they need. As the front runner among these heterogeneous platforms, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® streamlines identity management by providing IT organizations with a cloud-based solution for managing users and resources, regardless of platform, protocol, provider, or location. Using the same login across Mac, Linux, or Windows systems, cloud and on-prem applications, networks and file shares via RADIUS-as-a-Service and Samba, IT admins can ensure their entire network is secure.

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service

Interested in hearing more about how functions for open source directory services can be repurposed through JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service? Send us a note or give us a call through our Contact page. One of JumpCloud’s experts will be happy to set you up with a personalized product demo and answer any questions you might have along the way. Also, try out a free cloud directory service account to see the platform firsthand. The first 10 users are always free. 

JumpCloud directory-as-a-service
George Lattimore

George is a writer at JumpCloud, a central source for authenticating, authorizing, and managing your IT infrastructure through the cloud. With a degree in Marketing and an MS in Public Communications and Technology, George enjoys writing about how the IT landscape is adapting to a diversified field of technology.

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